Since moving to Florida nearly eight years ago, there are a lot of things I’ve had to get used to — obnoxiously long and humid summers, mosquitoes the size of small birds and living with the results of an electorate’s painfully bad decisions for state leaders (I’m looking at you Rick Scott supporters).
No matter how long I live here, these fun fringe benefits keep finding new ways to torture me.
Surprisingly, there’s one aspect of Florida life that not only doesn’t bother me, I’m downright comfortable with it — living in close quarters with these guys.
I believe they’re called anoles (that’s actually a hilarious name — kind of a cross between an asshole and a ‘Nole. Wait, isn’t that the same thing? I kid, Michelle, I kid!).
I’ve gotten so used to these little guys that I barely even notice them anymore. I take that back. There’s one time when I not only notice them, but I love them — when I’m running. As I lumber down the sidewalk, they scatter everywhere in front of me. I sometimes imagine that this must be what T. Rexes felt like — they approach and everything smaller gets the hell out of the way. But wait, does that make me the giant, murderous, meat-crazy T. Rex? I digress.
I’ve also noticed that out-of-state visitors are equal parts fascinated by and freaked out by our little lizards.
However, there is one time when I’m firmly anti-lizard — when they end up in the house, which, given our two broken windows and the tendency of E. to leave the door wide open every time she goes out into the back yard, is more often than I’d like.
Look at him on my deck, just poised to jump into the house.
When E. and I were home on Friday, I found a lizard in my closet. After my initial yelp, I called for my lizard wrangling partner to come help me. It should come as no surprise, but E. adores the lizards and loves trying to catch them.
I was finally able to grab the lizard but then my insane fear of reptiles overtook me and as soon as I felt him squirming in my hands I dropped him … right down E’s back. Thankfully, she found it hysterical. And our poor traumatized lizard used it as his chance to escape.
We spent the rest of Friday trying to find and catch him. I saw him one more time. Strike that. I felt him one more time. The little bastard had the teeny tiny balls to run over my foot when I was sitting at the dining room table. By then, I knew we were dealing with a sick, twisted lizard.
For the rest of the day, he went into hiding. He was just biding his time for the perfect time to strike again.
And he found it.
On Saturday morning, I had the crappiest run in a really long time. My legs felt like lead and I pretty much hated the world. Still pouting, I got into the shower. A few minutes later, I reached for the shampoo bottle and realized I had company — the lizard was perched on my bottle of conditioner. Apparently he’s a metrosexual, too.
Sadly, I was home alone so my screams went unanswered. But the lizard wasn’t spooked. That tiny bastard sat there and watched me take my entire shower. Pervert.
By the time I got out of the shower, toweled off, threw a robe on and returned to capture him once and for all, he was gone.
After that, I didn’t see him for a couple days. I figured I’d eventually find him where I usually find the other stowaways — dead by the front door (sad but true). That’s why I was trying really hard to capture and release him.
Finally, this morning, he reappeared. I was still in bed when I suddenly heard a strange noise in my bathroom. My first thought was that it was another Florida invader … a frog. Yes, not once but TWICE we’ve had frogs wind up in our bathroom, presumably by coming up through the toilet. Ah, Florida. You never cease to
I sprang out of bed and ran into the bathroom but couldn’t find him anywhere. I searched the shower, the sink, the floors and gave a quick glance into the toilet. But he was nowhere to be found. Since I was up anyway, I figured I’d start getting ready. Then, just as I was about to sit on the toilet, I caught a flash of brownish-green out of the corner of my eye. I stopped mid-squat and jumped back. I knew all those squats and lunges at the gym lately would pay off!
There he was. Finally, he was trapped. In my toilet bowl. I quickly tried to snatch him and caught him. Well, a piece of him. His tail came right off in my hand. So gross.
Undeterred, I pressed on. This time, I grabbed a wad of toilet paper and grabbed for him again. FINALLY!
I ran to the back door and set him down on the deck. He looked up at me for a second, then wagged his stump at me and scurried away. I might be imagining it, but I think he even gave me a head nod in thanks.
As happy as I was, I knew there was one person who’d be disappointed — my partner-in-crime. Sure enough, when I told her the tale when I woke her up, she had two questions. 1) “Why didn’t you wait for me to catch him?” 2) “Can I have the tail?”
Yes, that’s her dangling the lizard tail. She was obsessed.
By the way, I know you’re jealous of my lush, tropical lawn. Is it rainy season yet?
I finally convinced her that we needed to get rid of the severed tail. She took it somewhere in the yard and had a little good-bye ceremony. I wish I was joking.
Who knows? Maybe my lizard friend will find a way to reunite with it.
What’s the grossest/strangest creature you’ve found in your house? I’m grateful every day that a snake doesn’t show up in ours. I fear it’s only a matter of time. And then I’ll be forced to move. To Ireland.